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Csaba Laszlo <-auth Robert Martin auth-> William Collum
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Hearts 0 Dundee Utd 0

ROBERT MARTIN at Tynecastle

Published: 20 Dec 2008
JON DALY wasn’t surprised to see Paul Dixon shrug off Christian Nade’s horror lunge — because he’s used to the same kind of challenge from team-mate Willo Flood!

The Frenchman’s shocking tackle on the United left-back was the main talking point after these two sides went head-to-head at Tynecastle and ended up sharing the points.

Feeling aggrieved he didn’t get a foul for a previous incident, Nade sparked mayhem in the 31st minute when he decided to take matters into his own hands in front of Craig Levein’s dugout.

His assault on Dixon was a SHOCKER — high with studs showing it connected above his opponent’s knee, leaving Dixon in a crumpled heap on the track and the Jambos fans fearing the worst for Nade.

Levein was raging and let Nade know his thoughts in no uncertain terms, as did a number of United players as Dixon received treatment.

But ref Willie Collum somehow deemed the offence only worthy of a yellow card when it surely deserved a more serious punishment.

And before Nade could do any more damage he was hooked by Csaba Laszlo, who he angrily ignored as he stormed past him to take a seat on the Jambos bench.

But throughout all the mayhem Daly was never in any doubt that his team-mate would be back on the field a couple of moments later.

He said: “The way everyone reacted told me it was a straight red card and I saw Dicko’s leg at half-time and there were stud marks all the way down it.

“It was a bit of a bad challenge but these things happen in football. He apologised and that’s fair enough, fair play to him.

“He realises he has made a bad challenge. He could have hurt the boy but luckily he hasn’t done Dicko much damage.

“Paul’s a tough boy. Most of the lads in the team are — and they’re used to getting tackles like that in training from Willo Flood!

“He’s a wee lad but he certainly puts it about.

“So Paul’s a tough lad and he just wants to keep playing.”

Laszlo, to his credit, took virtually no time to remove Nade from the field, just as he did with Laryea Kingston last week when he feared he would be sent off against Celtic.

And in doing so he showed a hard side that hasn’t been too evident during his six months at Tynecastle.

Laszlo said: “A lot of people think I’m a nice guy and I can understand why people do things — but no.


“I have NO understanding in my job for indiscipline and we must be correct in what we do.

“If the referee saw 100 per cent how frustrated Christian Nade was he could have given him a red card.

“I must protect my team and I must protect my player and we don’t have any problems. I’ve spoken with Christian and he understands.

“You should know he didn’t train this week. He was sick all week and he is a guy who needs to train to keep up his performance.

“You could see he was not the Christian we have had in recent weeks. There were also tactical things he was not doing and that is why I took him from the field.

“Christian is a good guy and he will train next week and he will definitely be in the team.”

The problem was that, with Jamie Mole’s confidence low, gaffer Laszlo didn’t have a striker to replace Nade and instead sent David Obua into the fray.

It left Hearts without a cutting edge and it was evident with a long way still to go in this game that it would end up goalless.

Andrew Driver, who again impressed the watching scouts, drew one fine save out of Celtic-bound Lukasz Zaluska and also shot tamely at the keeper after a fine run.

But that was really all Hearts could muster, while at the other end United had only one real chance when Daly headed a Danny Swanson corner wide.

Even so the game was never less than absorbing as both teams traded blows, with defences in excellent form. Flood pulled the strings for United, while Kingston showed in flashes why he may well be in the English Premier League by the end of January.

The real winners, though, were Aberdeen, who have now made up four points on both Hearts and United in eight days and who host the Jambos at Pittodrie on Saturday.

And although Daly admitted draws against Rangers at home and Hearts away were good results, he also knows the league table doesn’t reflect that. He said: “It’s great to be involved in the race for third. There are teams just behind us now, like Aberdeen and Hibs, who are doing well.

“It’s not just between us and Hearts — they’ll be looking at this result and thinking it is brilliant because we’ve both dropped points.

“But I think it’s a good point for us. This is a difficult place to come and Hearts are on a good run of form as well.”

The Sun

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